Tricks for a Safe Halloween
Trick or treat can be a scary time for families with food-allergic children. The threat of hidden allergens in candy and party treats is enough to spook the most stalwart parent. Can kids partake in Halloween festivities while staying clear of dangerous allergens? The answer is yes! Here are some ways to turn fright night into fun night for food-allergic little goblins.
1. Invite the Halloween Fairy. Let your kids trick-or-treat but ensure they don’t touch or eat any of the candy. That night while they’re asleep, the Halloween Fairy--or the Great Pumpkin, Sugar Sprite, Good Witch, Candy Ghost, whatever works for your family--replaces their Halloween loot with a wrapped present (a new toy).
2. Throw a Family Party. Create your own Halloween traditions. Decorate the house, let the kids dress up in costumes, do Halloween-themed crafts. Prepare a spooky meal, such as allergy-friendly noodle “guts,” gluten-free breadstick “bones,” peeled grape “eyeballs,” and eat it by candlelight. Serve a special dessert. Then watch a cute Halloween movie with all the lights turned off.
3, Celebrate Without Food. Check your local celiac or food allergy group, school or other community organizations for a Halloween gathering where the focus is on fun, not food. Children don costumes, play games and trick-or-treat for trinkets (stickers, crayons, plastic jewelry, toys) rather than candy.
4. Plan a Get-Together. Invite other families with special dietary needs to a Halloween party at your place. Have children dress up for a costume parade. Take photos and award prizes. Serve allergy-friendly foods. Hold a scavenger hunt for toys and safe treats.
5. Trade Goods. After children return from trick or treating (no eating allowed!), have them exchange their loot for safe candy and goodies you supply or let them swap with each other under your supervision. You can also arrange a bigger trade—their entire stash for a new toy you know they will love.
6. Buy Back. Purchase children’s trick-or-treat candy by giving them a coin for each piece. Be prepared with rolls of pennies, nickels or dimes.
7. Scout Ahead. Limit trick-or-treat activities to your neighborhood or a specific area of people you know. Visit the neighbors beforehand and provide them with safe goodies to drop into your child’s bag. Explain your child’s food allergies, describe his or her costume and alert them to the approximate time your child will show up.
Delicious allergy-friendly recipes for Halloween cupcakes and other goodies are available at LivingWithout.com.